King's College London
Online Exhibitions
The pioneering work of Professor Jean Hanson, 1919-1973

DNA work at the Biophysics Research Unit

four men, two either side of a model of the DNA double helix molecule expressed in coloured spheresFellow DNA researchers in 1993 Early research at the Biophysics Research Unit focussed on the role of enzymes in cell development and the study of crystalline bodies in cells before its ground breaking work on nucleic acids and the momentous X-ray diffraction studies implying the helical structure of DNA.

The diffraction work was carried out by Hanson's contemporaries, Nobel Laureate, Maurice Wilkins, and his colleagues including Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling. These researches led to the publication of a series of papers in Nature in April 1953 proposing the double helix hypothesis.  This is further explained in our online exhibition, DNA: the King's story.

The Unit relocated from the Wheatstone laboratories on the Strand to a new site in Drury Lane in 1964. It later became the Biophysics Department and a Muscle Biophysics Unit was set up in 1970 with Hanson as Director.

The Department was renamed the Randall Institute in memory of its founding Director, who died in 1984, and is now the Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics based at New Hunt's House on the Guy's campus.

Its research draws on the traditional strengths of biophysics at King's, including muscle and cell motility and structural biology using x-ray crystallography of proteins.

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